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Old 04-25-07, 10:52 PM   #1
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Adjustable BB and water plague

My diamondback outlook has a serious problem. I can keep it in check by nursing it, but whenever it is subjected to torrential downpours, the BB fills with water. I've already destroyed two sets of bearings and scored a spindle (all replaced) by not keeping an eye on it. Last time I rebuilt it myself instead of having the shop do it.

I used a kind of axle grease made for marine applications, such as boat trailer wheels. It works pretty well and it held up okay to this week's treacherous deluges. I popped the adjustable cup off tonight to see what I'd find. Lo and behold, plenty of water poured out. The grease is still in good shape, so I didn't do a complete clean and re-grease, I simply re-packed the non-drive-side bearings that I'd taken out, and liberally smeared more grease on the spindle.

My questions are this:

1) What kind of grease SHOULD I use? This stuff seems pretty good for what I'm doing, but I didn't see any recommendations anywhere.

2) How can I keep water from plaguing my BB housing? Disassembly and using an air compressor to blast out the water after every wet ride is not an option.

3) Would a cartridge BB work in my BB housing? I can get measurements if needed. Would a cartridge be that much more durable than what I'm using?

For what it's worth, the only time I have problems is after a commute in really heavy rain. I'm not sure if this water-repellent marine axle grease would have withstood the abuse, but after taking it apart, it looks like it probably would have kept things well-lubed even with the moisture lurking in there. I didn't feel like finding out if my bearings were going to die in the middle of my commute this week, though.
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Old 04-25-07, 11:35 PM   #2
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You could drill a drain hole in the shell. It sounds to me like all the waterproof grease is doing is holding the water in. Give it a place to drain out and try greasing your seatpost to keep water from getting down there in the first place.
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Old 04-26-07, 03:31 AM   #3
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Are there any other holes where water is entering, such As bottle bracket holes etc. that aren't plugged with a screw?
Even with a drain hole, it'll be moist inside and very conductive to rust.
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Old 04-26-07, 03:50 AM   #4
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$25 cartridge bb and do what the other posters said regarding water intrusion.
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Old 04-26-07, 04:33 AM   #5
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IIWM, I'd agument the marine grease with a $1.95 plastic BB sleave/spacer and see what happens.
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Old 04-26-07, 04:58 AM   #6
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All orifices into the BB aside from the cups, are filled. There's no drain hole. I could certainly drill one like 1/8" or 1/16" and see if it helps.

I'm not sure how a sleeve works, but unless it forms a water-tight seal between mycups and spindle, I don't know what would do. How do they work?

I've considered picking up a cartridge, but I don't see how leaving standing water in the shell would be good no matter what method I do. So I guess I start by drilling. Thanks for the input so far.
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Old 04-26-07, 07:58 AM   #7
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I have a few older bikes with cup and cone BB's. The plastic sleeve helps to keep some of the water that gets into the frame away from the bearings long enough for it to run out the drain hole that you will drill in the bottom of the BB. If you have a hollow tube seat post it can gulp down a lot of water on a wet ride.

I am in no rush to change them out to a cartridge as they work fine but at some point they will get upgraded.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:08 AM   #8
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Drill a 1/4" hole in the bottom bracket shell at the lowest point and grease the seat post to help block the water path in. Many many frames have holes from new so this is nothing new. Regarding bottom brackets, next time you need one get a sealed cartridge version. Sheldon Brown's website has good information on what to buy so you may want to research there to make sure you get the right one.

Good luck.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nessism
Drill a 1/4" hole in the bottom bracket shell at the lowest point and grease the seat post to help block the water path in. Many many frames have holes from new so this is nothing new. Regarding bottom brackets, next time you need one get a sealed cartridge version. Sheldon Brown's website has good information on what to buy so you may want to research there to make sure you get the right one.

Good luck.
Agree with the hole but I think 1/4" is too big. I'd go no larger than 3/16" and 1/8" should be adequate.
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Old 04-26-07, 09:14 AM   #10
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You might also store the bike upside down, at least after a rain. Most of the water should drain out the seatpost if it's not obstructed-
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Old 04-26-07, 09:55 AM   #11
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If your seat post has a hole in the top, plug it and as others have said, put a drain hole in the BB.
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Old 04-26-07, 12:36 PM   #12
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Cool, thanks for the tips. I'll start with a 1/8" hole in the BB shell and see how that does. The seatpost is hollow, but given how the whole thing is assembled, I'll tell you it's not a significant source of my water problem. And all the eyelets are full on the seat tube. It's coming in through the cups and spindle.

I'll probably do the drilling this weekend. I'm going to have to take the whole thing apart to make sure I do it properly and get all the shavings out of the shell.
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Old 04-26-07, 06:10 PM   #13
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1/8" is a pretty small hole - may get clogged with gunk.

FYI, the photo below is of a Richard Sachs bottom bracket shell. The cut-out is about the size of 20 1/4" holes. Worried about one?

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Old 04-26-07, 08:15 PM   #14
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I might go 3/16". And I wouldn't ride a bike with that bb shell through the mud, grime, and rain that my commuter goes through.
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Old 04-26-07, 08:34 PM   #15
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Water is probably entering via the head tube.
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